Out Of Our Minds

‘To study the buddha way is to study the self. To study the self is to forget the self. To forget the self is to be actualized by myriad things. When actualized by myriad things, your body and mind as well as the bodies and minds of others drop away. No trace of realization remains, and this no-trace continues endlessly.’ (Dogen – Genjo Koan)

‘To study the Way of Liberation is to study yourself. To study yourself does not mean to add more knowledge to your cluttered brain’s ideas about yourself, but to remove all of the customary defining characteristics you usually associate self with: name, race, gender, occupation, social status, past, as well as all the psychological judgments you make about yourself. When the self is stripped down to its essential core, all that can be said about it is: “I am; I exist.”
What is then the I that exists?’ (Adyashanti – The Way of Liberation)

‘To get really high is to forget yourself. And to forget yourself is to see everything else. And to see everything else is to become an understanding molecule in evolution, a conscious tool of the universe’ (Jerry Garcia)

Currently there is some debate going on around the use of psychedelics – in Buddhism, and also in the workplace, especially Silicon Valley, it seems, perhaps not surprisingly given the ridiculous demands that are placed on people these days. I appreciate Brad taking his usual forthright stance, and being bold enough to double down as well; also Gesshin’s look at the topic – for what it’s worth, I think my views are pretty much in line with those of James Ford, who Gesshin links to.

Somewhere in the midst of all of that, I read the quote by Jerry Garcia in a comment. I could not help but be reminded of Dogen’s words on the subject, and then while I was at Wilbur I read Adyashanti’s The Way of Liberation, which has its own modern restatement of Dogen’s clarity. And it may be that psychedelics will give someone a taste of what it is to experience a loss of self, but I don’t think that’s what practice is all about. Right now, after almost twenty years of working on my self, what I most want to do is cultivate more compassion and kindness towards the people I meet and interact with. It helps not to take myself so seriously, and to try to put my needs aside – which gets pretty tricky sometimes. Perhaps some acid would jump-start that perspective a little, but I would rather keep working on enquiry, with as much discipline as I can muster, to be less in my mind and more in my heart.

4 thoughts on “Out Of Our Minds

  1. I am curious about the “try to put my needs aside” piece…particularly, what might happen if you brought the aliveness of your needs, wants, and desires forward, not in any way obliterating those of any other, nor with any attachment to any particular way of having them met…but rather as a gift, a contribution to the field of aliveness between you and another…to enrich it with that much more vibrancy, honesty, and gold.


  2. Thanks Jill. I have found at times that this is a challenging thing to navigate from the position of being a teacher, which is why I need to keep working at it.


    1. I strongly recommend Nonviolent Communication, based in the work of Marshall Rosenberg, as a place to start feeling into the larger field I call “internal reference.” My takeaway, that connects to this thread here (or this here thread 🙂 ) is that your own vulnerable sharing of fear, desire, and so on, within appropriate boundaries, invites or calls forth a deeper level of humanness from your students. I have found this, as well, with my own students–when I demo an exercise using myself and my own emotional material, in an appropriate container, it sets the tone for them to also let down their guard and do the same.


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